Some Tech Basics
© 2011 J M Manness – All rights reserved.
I will present some tech basics here for those who may not be so familiar.
NOTE: I intend to expand on this with time.
Some Tech Basics
- CPU = Central Processing Unit: This is the “Brains” of a computer that reads instructions from programs, and makes everything happen in the computer. (Smartphones are miniature computers with phones incorporated.)
- GPU = Graphics Processing Unit: This is a special kind of processor, similar to a CPU, but designed to process image data. They are designed to perform certain mathematical operations repeatedly on millions of graphical data points. (They can also be used to process certain types of mathematical problems and are seeing new uses in this area.)
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- Memory= Devices that store digital data.
- RAM = Random Access Memory: Electronic chips that provide quick access to digital data.
- On Board RAM or Cache Memory: RAM that is part of the CPU or part of the CPU package. The CPU has extra-fast access to this portion of memory.
- Cache: A portion of faster memory that holds data from slower memory areas on a temporary basis. As new data is added, older data is cleared to make room.
- SoC = System on a Chip: One chip on which is included a CPU and some of the other systems necessary to for the overall computer to function – typically, these include CPU, GPU, some RAM, other controllers.
- Processing Cores: Older CPUs could only process one instruction stream at a time. Cores are like mini-CPU within one CPU chip. Each one can process its own stream of instructions concurrently with any other cores.
- Multi-Tasking: A system by which one CPU core can run many different programs “at the same time.” Since even a multi-core CPU can concurrently run only as many program threads as it has cores, each core can multi-task as follows:
- Run program A for some small amount of time
- Save the state of program A
- Load the last state of Program B
- Run for some amount of time
- Save the state of program B
- I/O = Input/Output: Systems for getting data into or out of a computer. These include:
- Keyboard, touch screen, microphone, internet connection, etc (Input)
- Screen, speaker, printer, internet connection, etc. (Output)
- Software or Program: Software, or a computer program, is a set of computer instructions designed to perform a certain set of tasks for the end user. For example, MS Word consists of (among other things) a file of CPU instructions that when followed will produce all the functionality that we experience.
- Operating System (OS): There are many functions that are required by many programs in order for them to do things. These include things like displaying data on the screen, getting input from a keyboard, saving data to memory, etc., etc. An OS provides methods for doing these things so that each program will not have to “reinvent the wheel” for every service it needs.
Additionally, the OS provides a common basis of look and feel for the computer system. Thus, iOS provides software methods for creating scrollable lists. When a programmer creates one of these scrollable lists, the user will have access to the program data in the familiar display on the iPhone or iPad with all the usual touch controls. The programmer is saved the time of writing the code to do this and debugging it, and they get all the “goodies” (refinements and functionalities) that the OS designers have built in “for free.” For the end user this is good, since now the scrollable list both appears and operates exactly like all others. There is no need to learn how to maneuver in it specifically for this one program.
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Then please check out my short fiction anthologies.
(Both available in both Amazon and iBooks stores.)
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